Western Life

Jeffersonian Democracy

Many political movements have developed over the centuries but there is one thing that is common to them all. Every movement is neither fully criticized, nor liked by the people. They all have a fair share of love and hatred.

Jeffersonian Democracy was a political movement in America that emerged in the first decade of the nineteenth century. It is named after President Thomas Jefferson who was also the leader of this particular movement. He was considered to be a powerful individual who left a strong impact on his followers.

Jefferson favored everything that every human in any nation would love to experience. He promoted public education, free voting, limited government, and free press. Through this movement, Jefferson made efforts to sweep away aristocratic values. Although these were his personal beliefs, his presidency often diverted its attention from these.

Moreover, he had a strong belief that there should be small farms in a nation. For this reason, his followers mainly comprised of small farmers looking for better opportunities and also craftsmen from different areas of the country. For them, Jefferson was a true leader who was working towards protecting their rights.

Jefferson tried to work towards strengthening his relations with the common people throughout his presidency. While other leaders and political members traveled on coaches, Jefferson would walk to his inaugurals to stay in line with the common man of his country. Even in the White House, he tried to lead a simple life and avoided extravagance at all costs.

Jefferson also contributed to many economic policies. In order to promote land ownership and to minimize federal government expenses, he made quite a few changes in the U.S. economic policy. The most prominent ones include the following:

  • He reduced the size of military (army and navy)
  • Abolished excise taxes
  • Maintained the national bank
Louisiana Purchase

For financing the government, Jefferson mainly relied on the income generated from trade with European countries and by the sale of western lands.

One of the most prominent events of Jefferson’s administration was the purchase of Louisiana territory. The purchase was massive and quite surprising as it doubled the size of the country then.

Before this purchase was made, Jefferson planned an expedition, called “Corps of Discovery,” of the Western territories. The mission was financed by Congress who paid $2500 which was a massive amount during that time period. The final cost of the expedition later turned out to be around $38,000.

There’s a lot more that history tells us about the Jeffersonian movement, but he was criticized for owning slaves despite saying all men are created equal. This created controversy, despite the positive changes he made to the country.

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